I nodded enthusiastically, bantered cheerfully and smiled relentlessly — all in hopes of avoiding the judgment that would mark the beginning of my demise.
“There’s something weird about her.”
Trust me, that sentence carries a lot of weight when it comes from a guy who witnessed your boyfriend’s awkward phase.
Meeting the friends.
The experience is similar to meeting your significant other’s parents, only without a home-cooked meal and easy access to embarrassing baby photos.
In fact, the friend introduction is a lot worse than the parent introduction.
Initially, it seems harmless.
You’re being judged by a jury of your peers, rather than some manners-obsessed outsiders who frown at visible tattoos and have an inexplicable affinity for titles like “sir.”
Then, reality sinks in.
While parents rely on fairly standard judging criteria — appearance, etiquette, career aspirations — a friend’s relationship critique is unpredictable.
Friends likely size up a mate with a more comprehensive knowledge of your romantic history. They remember your dating mistakes and social missteps.
It’s easy to dismiss Mom’s relationship warning with, “Whatever. You dated, like, 100 years ago.”
A friend’s words of caution are a little more difficult to ignore.
So if you’re in the hot seat — the person being judged — you approach The Friends mildly.
You remain silent when their personalities surface.
Like the friend who, seconds after exchanging initial pleasantries, publicly resurrects tales of all the exes who came before you.
Or the one who seems just a little too touchy-feely for a first-time introduction.
Things don’t get any better when he hands you his phone number with this disclaimer: “You know, just in case you guys don’t work out.”
Then, there’s the dubious Opposite Sex Friend, a person your significant other may or may not have dated in the past.
If an Opposite Sex Friend is involved, refrain from asking, “So, how do you guys know each other?” They’ll exchange awkward glances that will haunt you for decades.
And finally, let’s not forget the best friend your boyfriend conveniently failed to mention in advance.
This person usually lives in his car, has questionable grooming habits and introduces himself in Pig Latin.
Birds of a feather fly together? Let’s hope not.
The worst part of the friend encounter is that while the jury can — and will — pass all the judgments they’d like, you’re pretty much left without a voice.
Speak honestly about the people who just critiqued you and you’re bad-mouthing a friendship bond that’s likely already outlasted the duration of your relationship.
Even though my dating confidence has increased, meeting the friends hasn’t gotten any easier.
The only consolation is that my dream man will be someone who realizes we all have awkward moments and skewed first impressions.
Even if there is something a little weird about me.